Column: Years that shaped me

%22I+will+always+understand+the+importance+of+family%2C+and+how+my+roots+and+my+christian+values+implemented+through+both+my+mom+and+dad+will+never+leave+me.%22

Katie Dolberry

“I will always understand the importance of family, and how my roots and my christian values implemented through both my mom and dad will never leave me.”

As senior year comes to a close and my responsibilities rise, my motivation seems to decline. As I struggle to keep my hopes high for my future, I must remind myself of who and what I am working for. In order to do that, I must look at the people around me and their pasts. 

My story starts in 1935, when Loretta Sharp, what we now call my “Mimi,” was born in a tiny town called Carrizo Springs, Texas. She was born into a family of 15, being the third youngest child. With 12 siblings, she grew up poor but learned to distract herself with boys and sports. The boys loved her; she was tall and athletic. It was evident she wasn’t afraid of anything. When asked if she had a lot of boyfriends, she always raised her voice as if it is the most ridiculous question she ever heard. “I had TONS of boyfriends,” she would reply. Mimi loved athletics and seemed to be naturally good at anything she played. If you ever asked what Mimi’s favorite subject was, she will always say P.E.  She was the only freshmen to make the varsity cheer team and played basketball like a pro. 

The dog days sometimes felt long and worrisome in Carrizo Springs, but my grandmother always seemed to be positive; she had an end goal. She wanted to graduate high school and find a husband. Luckily, she did. A tall, dark man named William Dell Bouldin, or “BB,” was her ticket out of Carrizo Springs. They quickly got married and had two boys, Jeffrey and Leslie. As my dad, Jeff, and uncle, Les, grew up in Victoria, Texas, they seemed to live the most adventurous life. BB was a workaholic, and Mimi spoiled her boys with everything she could. She gave them the best life she could with the resources she had. Her and BB set out the best path for my dad and uncle to follow, and they sure did follow it. 

Fast forward to 1976, my dad had just graduated from high school as salutatorian, and he had received an admissions letter into Harvard University. The past two years for my dad were hard. Because of a divorce between BB and Mimi, and a separation between my dad and Mimi when he made the decision to move to Corpus Christi, Texas with BB. With little scholarship money, my dad made his way to Boston. He found himself working multiple jobs to help pay for his tuition while trying to keep up his studies. This seemed almost impossible, resulting in him having to drop out after the first semester. He then transferred to Trinity University, and later Texas A&I. In his last semester of college at A&I, BB ended up passing away from a blood clot. This unexpected death was devastating and gave my dad his last burst of motivation to finish college. With nowhere to stay and little money, he spent his last semester living out of his car and eating bologna sandwiches. Despite all of his hardships, he turned down any help that was offered him and spent most nights finding any streetlight to read his textbooks under. After three and a half years, and three schools, my dad finally graduated and he was on his way to bigger things. 

Don’t forget where you came from, or you will end right back up there.”

— Lily's great grandmother

Although he got through his college hardships, they didn’t seem to stop there. After years of working in real estate, the 1985 recession happened, and he had to start from scratch.  All of his efforts felt as if they were in vain. 

There’s this quote that goes around our family that my great grandma said, “ “Don’t forget where you came from, or you will end right back up there.” 

I will always understand the importance of family, and how my roots and my christian values implemented through both my mom and dad will never leave me. I have always been so intrigued about my dad’s story, as I have never understood how he had so much willpower to get through the hardest times of his life by himself. Luckily, I am fortunate enough to always have my family and friends to help and support me, but it is clear now that he was working for something bigger than himself. He was working for his wife, me and my siblings. He was working for Mimi, for BB and for God. Sometimes when my dad talks about his dark days, I sit there and listen without my mouth. I want to know more, I want to understand more.  

As my dad sat on his computer for hours upon hours for months, he was trying to find a solution. That’s something he was always good at, finding a solution. He ended up finding a career in oil and gas and has stuck with that for most of my lifetime. In the present, he is now retired and is able to relax in the comfort of his hard work. 

On the other end, his other half, my mother, has a completely different story. Robin Cash, born in Oakland to two UC Berkeley college students. Her first nights alive were spent in a closet in a tiny apartment. My mom’s parents ended up getting a divorce as well, and my grandpa, a German immigrant, ended up gaining custody. My mom spent most of her life in Chicago, Illinois (where crime ran rampant) with her dad and step-mom. She lived with her two other half- sisters Lizzy and Rachel, who were much younger than her. At a young age, my mom realized that she did not enjoy school and wanted to pursue something else. She found a career in hair, and that became her passion. She always wanted to make her own money and have the feeling of independence. Once she graduated highschool at 17, she ended up moving out and her parents moved to Texas. After her parents moved, she felt alone. She just recently experienced a failed engagement to add on to it. She moved down to Texas to continue her cosmetology career, and  that is where she met my dad. They pursued a life together and went through every up and down as a team. . 

The life experiences that my parents have had, have continued to push me into the direction of pursuit and happiness. The truth is nothing ever comes easy, and as I am getting ready to go into the new season of college, I am going in with an open mind–an open mind that there are going to be challenges that I will get through. My Mimi beat skin cancer and is currently fighting COPD and Gout. She defeated divorce, and I will tell you she is the strongest woman I know. This may be a cause of her southern roots. They don’t mess around in Corizza Springs. My dad defeated death, poverty, hopelessness and failure, and he is the person that is still on his toes, always ready to act on any problem the world throws at him next. My mom defeated divorce, custody, insecurity, and of course high school. The truth is, I want to be the best person I can be for everyone that had an influence in making my life the best it can be.